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Gym Exercises for Snowboarders

What you didn't know you need to do to become a better snowboarder

By

Fit back

Fitness is essential to ride better

Photo credit: Linden Laserna via FreeImages.com

Snowboarding is great exercise, but, even if you snowboard a lot, you are not reaching your fitness potential and maximizing your physical potential. To get into tip-top shape for your on-hill adventures, you’ll have to do some off-hill training.

After your hang up your snowboard it’s time to hit the gym.

These five gym exercises will keep your legs, core and arms in shape so you can make the most of those powder days, park runs, and corduroy-gouging carves.

 

Oblique Twists with a Medicine Ball

Why they help:

You use your abdominal muscles more than you think when you’re out riding. Whether you’re spinning off of kickers or simply making smooth turns down a groomed run, your core muscles are constantly working to help you balance and pivot.

How to do them:

Sit on the floor and hold a medicine ball in the air out in front of your body with both hands. The ball should be in line with your abs and your elbows should be bent. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the ground so that you’re balanced only on your butt (you’ll feel your ab muscles tense to hold this position).

Rotate to one side, touch the medicine ball to the ground, then rotate all the way to the other side and touch the ball to the ground again. Continue twisting from side to side while keeping your abdominals tight.

 

Walking Lunges

Why they help:

Your legs do a lot of work when you’re riding, especially at critical times, like when you’re springing off a jump and or absorbing the impact of landing a big air. So, it’s important to keep them strong. That’s not even mentioning the fact that they’re supporting your body weight while slightly bent nearly the entire time that you’re riding.

How to do them

Start with both feet flat on the floor and take one large step forward while lowering your rear knee toward the ground. Continue lowering your body until your rear knee nearly touches the ground . Both your front and rear knees should reach 90-degree angles.

Push your body back up to standing position, then switch legs. Once you’ve mastered walking lunges without weights, you can increase the difficulty of the exercise by carrying more and more weight while you lunge.

 

Pull-Ups

Why they help:

Working your upper body -- including your back -- is essential for snowboarding. A strong back and upper body is important to avoiding injury and properly maintaining balance and stability on the slopes.

How to do them:

These are pretty self-explanatory, but there are a few points to keep in mind to for proper form. Grab the pullup bar with your palms facing forward and your arms about shoulder-width apart. Hang down with your arms straight and pull your entire body up until your chin is above the pull-up bar. Repeat until you can do no more.

 

Single Leg Lateral Hops

Why they help:

These, like walking lunges, are meant to strengthen the the muscles you use most while snowboarding. Unlike lunges, however, single-leg lateral hops also work your stabilizing muscles, improve your balance, and help to increase the strength you need to pop off of jumps and handle hard landings.

How to do them:

Find a small cone (or a line on the floor for beginners) that you can easily hop over on one leg. Stand to one side of the cone on a single leg with your knee slightly bent. Jump laterally (sideways) over the cone and land on the same leg on the other side. Try to rebound off of that leg and immediately jump back over the cone to your starting position. Continue hopping back and forth over the cone on a single leg for 15 to 30 seconds, then switch to your opposite leg and repeat the exercise.

 

Tricep Dips

Why they help:

The need for strong triceps is not as obvious as some of the other muscles mentioned earlier, but they do matter. Triceps are used frequently in snowboarding when reaching to buckle or unbuckle bindings at an awkward angle, when pushing yourself up after falling, when cushioning a forwards fall with your hands, or, most importantly, when you get stuck in deep powder and are struggling to get on your feet.

How to do them:

Find a chair, stair, park bench, or any other surface of about the same height that will support your weight. Sit down on it and place your hands roughly shoulder-width apart. Extend your legs out in front of you with your heels on the floor and slide your rear end forward off of the surface. Straighten your arms, but be careful not to fully straighten your elbow (you want to keep the tension in your triceps instead of your elbow joints). To begin the exercise, bend your elbows to slowly lower your body toward the ground. Once your elbows reach a 90-degree angle, reverse the motion slowly straighten them back up to your starting position. Perform this same exercise for three sets of 10 repetitions or for a set amount of time (roughly 30 seconds).

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